A time to mourn, a time to heal

Pete Seeger*

(excerpted from The Little Magazine, Vol. II, Issue 5)

Terrorism has been with us for as long as the human race. Because for thousands of years our ancestors have been fighting each other in small bands — they have been trying to scare the other tribes into fleeing. If we can get them to run away, maybe we can take over their caves! So how do we scare them? Maybe throw some fire into their caves! And these scare tactics, of course, have been used by armies, and civilian populations have been murdered quite often just to make sure that civilians weren’t contributing to war efforts. If a village is found to be supporting enemy soldiers in any way — Wipe The Village Out!

In a sense, bombing Hiroshima and Nagasaki were acts of terrorism. Those were not military targets. Why couldn’t they have dropped the bombs on military targets? No! We have to scare the Japanese into surrender!

I think we should recognise that the United States and the US Army have been involved in terrorism for a long time. In these modern times, there is more terrorism than ever. And the human race is realising more than ever that war has to be stopped if the human race is to survive.

I am optimistic — I think we have a fifty-fifty chance to be here, to survive. I may be fooling myself. You know, many scientists give it less than a fifty-fifty chance. I have often been told that I am too optimistic. But I believe there is a fifty-fifty chance of the human race’s survival because terrorism is now teaching people that war has got to be stopped, and peace-loving people are getting together like never before. All over the United States, peace-loving people have been speaking out. …

Earlier, you needed a whole army for a war, but today, just one man can bring about immense destruction. Terrorism is going to be the most common form of warfare in the next few years. I am convinced that using modern techniques, there will be more terrorism in many parts of the world, because a technological society doesn’t know what to do with terrorism, really. And you can blow up a tunnel or a bridge or an aeroplane — terrorism has become so much easier. …

I may be over-optimistic — I often have been — but I think the peace-loving people of the USA will be stronger than ever now. They don’t want any kind of terrorism: whether it’s with bombs, missiles, troops or aeroplanes. Every time there is war, there is terrorism.

And I think people have had enough. They don’t want it anymore. …

*Pete Seeger, the legendary singer who has inspired generations of peace activists with his unforgettable songs against America’s wars of aggression, is still singing at 82 — with his grandson. He lives in Beacon, New York state.